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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

October 23, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Garfield students, teachers protest staff cut

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Garfield students left school early Thursday to protest the district’s plans to remove one teaching position from the school. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Hundreds of students and teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School walked out of class early on Thursday over news that one of their teachers will be cut because the district says the school’s enrollment is lower than anticipated.

District leaders say they are reviewing the school’s headcount because school staff believe Garfield has more students than anticipated, not less.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: enrollment, Garfield High, Garfield High School

October 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Round-up: National attention for Seattle preschool measures, Neb. district OKs guns in yearbook

National attention for competing preschool measures: Seattle’s city-sponsored preschool initiative is attracting attention from the other Washington, where an advocacy organization called Save the Children Action Network is sending tens of thousands of mailers supporting Proposition 1B to Seattle mailboxes. Backers of Proposition 1A, meanwhile, say their proposal is grassroots and has widespread support among local parents and teachers.

New York state to review immigrant enrollment procedures (The New York Times): State officials in New York are reviewing the enrollment policies of several suburban districts near New York City, after a New York Times report found some schools were excluding undocumented students from classes. Dozens of children on Long Island have stayed home more than a month into because of the legal dispute.

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October 23, 2014 at 5:00 AM

King County outscores state, nation in opportunity for kids

Seattle-area students enjoy more opportunity than their peers in the rest of the state and nation, a new national report card suggests.

The study, compiled by two nonprofit research groups, measured economic, educational and other factors that affect the learning environment for children such as household income, violent crime and the proportion of students enrolled in preschool.

King County outscored the state in nearly every area, most notably the economic ones.

Median household income is higher and poverty and unemployment is lower in the Seattle area than statewide and nationally. In King County, a median family makes $67,587 a year and 11 percent of residents fall below the national poverty line. Statewide, an average family makes close to $55,000 and 14 percent of the population is living in poverty. In the U.S., average household income is $48,781 and the poverty rate is 16 percent.

The study gave King County a B grade overall and ranked Washington 22nd out of all states.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: early learning, graduation rates, higher education

October 22, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Round-up: Report finds academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill, short tenure common for schools chiefs

Report reveals academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill (The New York Times): An internal investigation by the University of North Carolina has uncovered new details in an academic scandal that first came to light three years ago. According to the report, two faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill ran a “shadow curriculum” within the school’s African and Afro-American Studies department and awarded unearned grades to student athletes for nearly 20 years.

Role of curriculum is a sticking point on pre-K plans (KPLU): Curriculum is key to a “high-quality” pre-K program, say backers of Proposition 1B, the city-sponsored preschool proposal. Officials say play would have to be a central component of programs that receive city funding — but such a mandate rubs many existing preschool instructors the wrong way.

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October 22, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Record-high enrollment at WSU and UW’s three campuses

The WSU campus in Pullman. Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times 2011.

The WSU campus in Pullman. Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times 2011.

Both the University of Washington and Washington State University are reporting record-high enrollments for this academic year, with UW enrollment up 3 percent from the previous year and WSU up 4 percent.

All told, the UW’s three campuses — Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma — now enroll 54,223 students. That’s almost as many people as live in Redmond.

The Seattle campus alone added more than 1,000 students, bringing its total to 44,786. In its most recent count, The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked the UW 12th-largest among public universities that offer doctoral degrees, and that was based on 2012 figures when total enrollment at the Seattle campus was 43,485.

The UW had both the highest undergraduate student enrollment in its history (41,243 students) and also the highest graduate student enrollment (12,980 students) when all three campuses are added together.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education, University of Washington, Washington State University

October 21, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Round-up: Study finds mentoring helps kids stay healthy, $16 million for UW foreign languages

Study finds mentoring can help kids’ health (Reuters): Research from the University of Georgia has found strong social support can have positive effects on the physical health of adolescents growing up in poverty. High levels of stress hormones are known to contribute to chronic illnesses among children.

$16 million will go toward UW foreign languages: The University of Washington has received a $16-million federal grant that will support up to 140 fellowships a year for students who study languages other than Spanish, French and German. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Education and is intended to help the nation enhance its international leadership role.

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October 21, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Into the fray: Charter high school targets low-income Seattle

During early rumblings about charter schools in Washington, many national chains backed away, taking a wait-and-see approach before wading into Seattle’s treacherous waters.

That wariness was understandable. The state’s charter school law squeaked by in 2012, weathering vigorous push-back from the teachers union, and in Seattle distaste among voters was particularly strong. Acknowledging the skepticism, Marco Petruzzi, president and chief executive officer of the California-based Green Dot chain, said his company did not want to “be in the situation of being intruders.”

But now, Green Dot is here, meeting with South Seattle parents, gaining approval for a middle school in Tacoma and winning authorization to open a combination middle-and-high school in Seattle.

So why the shift? Only one charter — First Place — has opened within Seattle’s city limits, and there has been little softening of anti-charter rhetoric in the blogosphere.

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October 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Round-up: Private tutors return to local districts, quality of words key to language skills

Federally-funded tutoring returns to Pierce County districts (The News-Tribune): Students at dozens of schools in Pierce County will qualify for free private tutoring following the loss of Washington’s No Child Left Behind waiver. The programs are scheduled to being in November, and hundreds of families in Tacoma Public Schools have already signed up, although response has been slower in some suburban districts.

Quality of words key to kids’ language development (The New York Times): The quality of verbal interaction between parents and young children is more important than the quantity of words spoken, according to an academic study presented at the White House last week. UW researcher Patricia K. Kuhl, one of the study’s authors, says she is worried that messages like “close the word gap” could oversimplify what needs to be done to prevent poorer children from lagging behind their more affluent peers.

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October 20, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Free Seattle college fair features 325 schools

Mark your calendars: The Seattle National College Fair, a free event that brings 325 colleges and universities to Seattle for a weekend, will be held Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 this year at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

The event gives students and their families the chance to gather up reams of brochures and leaflets about the colleges, ask questions of admissions representatives and learn about financial aid offerings. Participants include two- and four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, including many from outside the United States.

The event is always highly recommended for high-school juniors, as well as seniors, because it can help younger students get a handle on what the admission process is all about.

The fair runs from 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 31, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Nov. 1.

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October 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Round-up: Janitor says 9 had access to test booklets, magazine names ‘America’s worst colleges’

Janitor says 9 people had access to Beacon Hill tests: The saga of suspicious tests at Beacon Hill International School continues, with a janitor reporting that nine people had keys to a closet where the exam booklets were stored. Seattle Public Schools has not commented on issues surrounding access to the tests.

D.C. magazine picks ‘America’s worst colleges’ (NPR): Washington Monthly has taken a different approach to the traditional college rankings list. Taking into account rates for tuition, graduation and student debt, the magazine has assembled several different lists of schools it’s labeled the “worst” in the country.

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